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First Beams Cross Woodall Rodgers Freeway for The Park

DALLAS (Oct. 13, 2010) – The Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation announced today the upcoming arrival of the first of 316 concrete crossbeams that will form the foundation for The Park over Woodall Rodgers Freeway. Contractor Archer Western will begin installing the beams over the freeway Sat. Oct. 23 in the evening following a picnic celebration with donors and the public.

TxDOT will aim to maintain optimum mobility, only allowing lane closures in off-peak hours such as nights and weekends. Archer Western will continue to install beams in batches steadily over the next several months. 

 “New box beams surmounting the eight-lane, recessed freeway is a dramatic sight,” said Linda Owen, president of the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation. “We hope that this highly visible milestone will capture everyone’s imagination. As we all watch The Park take shape, the Foundation will be seeking the final group of generous donors who will complete the vision and put their signature on this amazing Dallas landmark.”

As construction progresses, the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation continues to raise capital to fund The Park’s amenities, programs and endowment. Notable naming opportunities include the Children’s Park, Great Lawn and Park Plazas.

The Park will create a deck over the freeway, consisting of concrete and pre-stressed box beams set on columns constructed outside the current walls of the freeway. Further support will be provided by the new center wall, which is currently 90 percent complete. There will be approximately 1,200 linear feet of freeway enclosed by the deck, forming a short tunnel. The concrete beams will be arranged in groups of three with spacing in between to allow for tree root wells and infrastructure. Concrete slabs will span the spaces between the beams, forming trenches that will allow the trees to grow to their full height and width.

To install the crossbeams, Archer Western will align two cranes on either side of the project, lifting the beam in tandem to place it in position between the newly constructed support columns and center wall. The crossbeams measure 110 feet in length and are manufactured in Waco. 

“The beams are crossing the freeway in a way that enables The Park to be constructed at ground level, even with the adjacent streets and sidewalks,” said Owen. “We are proud of this engineering feat because it will make The Park universally accessible to all visitors, including those with disabilities.” 

During the installation of the crossbeams, slated for intermittent nights and weekends, the Texas Department of Transportation will close highway lanes. For full mobility information, please visit

About The Park

The Park will serve as a central gathering space for Dallas and its visitors to enjoy in the heart of the city. The 5.2-acre deck park will create an urban green space over the existing Woodall Rodgers Freeway between Pearl and St. Paul Streets in downtown Dallas. Plans include a performance pavilion, restaurant, shaded walking paths, a dog park, a children’s discovery garden and playground, great lawn, water features, an area for games and much more.

Connectivity is central to The Park's purpose. The Park will promote increased pedestrian, trolley and bicycle use between Uptown, Downtown and the Arts District, contributing to a more walkable city center.

The Park will create a front lawn for the surrounding cultural offerings including the AT&T Performing Arts Center, Dallas Museum of Art, Morton Meyerson Symphony Hall, Nasher Sculpture Center, Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art, Booker T. Washington High School for the Visual &Performing Arts and the future Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

Construction on the deck plaza began in October 2009. The base park is expected to be complete in early 2012 with amenities expected to be complete in fall 2012.
Design, deck and tunnel construction are funded through a public-private partnership including $20 million in bond funds from the City of Dallas, $20 million in highway funds from the state and federal government through TxDOT, and over $26 million from private donations, including major gifts from Chase and the W.W. Caruth Foundation. In March 2009, The Park was selected to receive $16.7 million in stimulus funds that are specifically for transportation enhancement projects. The Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation is in the final phase of the campaign to secure private funding for amenities construction, operations, programming and endowment.

The Park will be privately managed, operated and programmed by the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation. The Foundation has studied great urban parks across the country and will bring “best practices” to The Park's operations, programming and maintenance.

The Park’s design is led by The Office of James Burnett, Thomas Phifer and Partners, and Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. The Texas Department of Transportation selected Archer Western as the contractor for construction of the deck plaza. Bjerke Management Services provides project management services to the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation. 

Jody Grant serves as Chairman of the Board of the Woodall Rodgers Foundation and is joined by President and C.E.O., Linda Owen, and board members Nancy Best, Garrett Boone, Leo Corrigan, Ed Fjordbak, Sheila Grant, Jeff Jackson, John Muse, Rob Walters and John Zogg.

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